About one in ten Americans has type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body no longer responds to insulin. As a result, your blood sugar rises, which can damage your tissues.
Some people with diabetes can maintain their blood sugar levels with dieting and exercise, while others have to rely on glucose monitoring and medications. Although no one wants to get diabetes, the hard truth is that many people will be diagnosed with it in their lifetime.
Health experts tell us, though, that type 2 diabetes can be prevented. If type 2 diabetes runs in your family, or if you’re wanting to adopt a healthier lifestyle, the experts at Nexclin Medicine located in Roswell, Georgia are here to share five tips that can help you avoid this life-threatening disease.
1. Remove sugar and carbs from your diet
This may sound like a tough one to conquer, but cutting refined sugar and refined carbohydrates from your diet is one of the best ways to reduce your risk. People who consume great amounts of fast-digesting carbs are 40% more likely to develop diabetes than those who limit their intake.
When consuming carbs and sugars, your body breaks them down into smaller sugar components — namely glucose — that your blood absorbs. Your blood sugar rises as your pancreas creates more insulin that can’t do its job, and over time, it can lead to a tipping point resulting in diabetes.
Choose whole grains like brown rice and wheat bread instead of carbs. Drink water, tea, and coffee instead of sugary drinks. Participants in a 12-week study who followed a low-carb diet found that their blood sugar levels decreased by 12% and their insulin levels by 50%.
2. Exercise regularly
You’ve heard how exercise can benefit the body and mind, but studies also prove that it’s a great way to avoid type 2 diabetes. Exercising can reduce insulin resistance and lower your blood sugar. In a clinical study, rigorous exercise raised insulin sensitivity by 85%.
You don’t have to perform high-intensity physical activity to lower your risk of diabetes. In fact, moderate exercise, such as walking your dog or swimming with your friends, is enough to keep you healthy.
3. Stop smoking
Smokers have twice the risk as non-smokers of developing type 2 diabetes. And there are many other negative consequences smoking brings, like heart disease, stroke, and death. In fact, smoking is responsible for 20% of all deaths.
If you’ve tried to quit before, you probably know how hard it can be. There are many products on the market and support groups that can help make the process easier. Don’t get discouraged. Most people try several times to quit before the habit is gone for good.
4. Watch portion sizes
You already know that making healthy food choices is one of the best ways to lower your risk of diabetes. It’s also very important to watch how much you eat, especially if you’re overweight. Consuming large portions is directly linked with high insulin levels and blood sugar.
In a study conducted over two years, prediabetic men who practiced portion control and other healthy eating habits lowered their diabetes risk by 46%. The best way to watch your portion size is by understanding how much food is in a serving. All portion sizes are labeled on food packages, but you can also manage your serving sizes by following the plate method.
The plate method involves filling half of a 9-inch dinner plate with non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, carrots, or a salad. Then prepare a protein like tofu, chicken, or fish for one quarter of the plate. In the remaining quarter, fill your plate with a grain or starch like brown rice or whole-grain pasta.
5. Get vitamin D
Vitamin D strengthens your bones and teeth. In addition, this fat-soluble vitamin plays an important role in controlling your blood sugar. Evidence suggests that individuals who don’t consume enough vitamin D are at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes.
Vitamin D is found in many foods, but to get the suggested dose of 30 ng/mL, you’ll probably need to take a supplement. The sun is also a good source of natural vitamin D, but always remember to wear sunscreen with a high SPF to protect yourself from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Prevention is key when it comes to avoiding type 2 diabetes, and it’s never too early to start lowering your risk. If you have any questions, we’re always here to help — call Nexclin Medicine at 770-648-2959 or book online.